COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 6, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked No. 2 in the world, used a balanced offense with five players in double-figures scoring to sweep Korea 25-22, 25-20, 25-16 on Wednesday on the second day of the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
The WGCC is a six-team, round robin event held in the first year of each Olympic quadrennial. Thursday is a travel day for all six teams as they transfer from Tokyo to Nagoya for the final three days of the tournament. Team USA faces No. 5 Russia on Friday (11:40 p.m. ET on Thursday), followed by host and No. 6 Japan on Saturday (6:15 a.m. ET) and No. 4 Brazil on Sunday (1:40 a.m. ET).
Earlier today, China (2-0, 5 points) defeated Brazil (1-1, 4 points) 25-20, 25-12, 20-25, 23-25, 19-17 in a thrilling five-set match to remain undefeated. Later today, host Japan plays Russia.
Television: Every match of the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup will be televised lived in the United States on The Olympic Channel, along with multiple replays of the matches.
Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) scored a USA-best 13 points with 11 kills on 20 attacks and two blocks. Middle Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio) chipped in 12 points with six kills on 13 swings, a team-best four blocks and two aces. Middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota) notched nine kills on 16 attacks, two blocks and an ace.
The U.S. scored the final three points of the opening set in breaking a 22-all tie to go up 1-0. The Americans used a key 4-0 run in the second set to stake an 18-13 advantage en route to winning 25-20. After Korea rallied from an 11-5 deficit to move to within 13-11 in the third set, Team USA pushed hard in the final stages to win 25-16 by scoring 12 of the final 17 points.
“Watching Korea against Japan last night, we had great respect for how hard they fight,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “They have great fighting spirit. We knew we would have to work very hard. We also learned from one of our very first rallies, was one of the longest rallies. They play great defense and we a very nice challenge today against a very good Korea team.”
Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) contributed 11 points with eight kills on 26 swings, two blocks and an ace. Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) charted 10 kills on 17 attacks and an ace. Setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois), making her first start in an FIVB competition, rounded out the scoring with a kill.
Libero Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) was credited with a team-high seven digs to go with eight excellent receptions on nine errorless chances. Larson added a team-leading 11 excellent receptions on 19 chances to go with seven digs. Hill chipped in 10 excellent receptions on 29 chances.
The U.S. converted 47.4 percent of its attacks with a .368 hitting efficiency (45-10-95) as Carlini was credited with 40 running sets on 76 total set attempts. In contrast, Korea was held to a 34.9 kill percent and .174 hitting efficiency (38-19-109).
The U.S. controlled the net and service line with advantages of 10-4 in blocks and 5-1 in aces. The Americans held a 45-38 margin in kills as both teams committed 15 errors for the match.
“This was a much better match for us tonight,” U.S. captain Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) said. “I am really happy the way we responded and we came out and fought through the whole match. Korea is a great opponent. They play really awesome defense and it caused us to have a lot of patience throughout every rally. I think we did a really good job at that.”
Korea’s Jaeyeong Lee led all scorers with 15 points.
The U.S. started Hill and Larson at outside hitter, Adams and Gibbemeyer at middle, Drews at opposite and Carlini at setter. Courtney was the libero for the match. Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Maryville, Illinois) was a serving sub in the first set and was the only substitution made in the match for the USA.
Korea opened the match with the first two points on consecutive blocks, but the U.S. evened the set at 2-all following a Drews kill ending a long rally. Korea stretched its lead to 9-6 on consecutive points, but the U.S. cut the gap back to one at 9-8 with consecutive Adams kills. Team USA rattled off a 5-0 run to take a 13-10 lead on three Korea errors and back-to-back blocks from Drews and Adams. Adams downed a kill and served an ace to extend the Americans’ lead to 15-11. Korea chipped two points off the deficit at 15-13. Korea squared the set at 18-all on a 4-1 run. The U.S. responded with a 3-0 run to take a 21-18 advantage with Adams scoring a kill and block followed by a Larson kill. Korea charged back into a tie at 22-all on a 4-1 run. After an American timeout the U.S. scored the final three points at 25-22 as Kim collected back-to-back kills and Gibbemeyer finished it with a block.
The U.S. opened a 5-3 lead in the second set with back-to-back kills from Gibbemeyer. However, Korea charged into the lead at 7-6 on a 4-1 run. Team USA went on a 3-0 run to take a 9-7 lead, but Korea answered with back-to-back points to level the score at 9-all. Adams put up a block and Hill followed with a kill to push the Americans up 12-10. Gibbemeyer started a 4-0 American run with a kill followed by a Larson spike, Hill ace and Gibbemeyer block to give Team USA a 18-13 advantage. Team USA stretched its lead to 20-14 on a Korea back row attack error, but Korea charged back to within three at 23-20. However, the U.S. scored the final two points with kills from Drews and Gibbemeyer to win 25-20.
Team USA grabbed a 4-1 lead early in the third set as Hill slammed a kill to cap a 3-0 run. Out of a timeout, Korea sliced the gap to 4-3 with consecutive points. The Americans answered with back-to-back kills to take a 6-3 lead. The U.S. went into the first technical timeout up 8-4 after a Larson tip over the block. Team USA extended its lead to six at 11-5 with a Larson block and kill around a Gibbemeyer ace. Korea rallied to within two at 13-11 on a 3-0 run prompting a USA timeout. The U.S. increased its lead to 17-12 on a 3-0 run as Hill downed back-to-back kills and Drews ace. The Americans continued to roll by increasing their lead to 22-14 on a 3-0 run including a Gibbemeyer kill, Adams block and Korea error. Team USA cruised the rest of the way for a 25-16 victory as Larson scored the final point.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for FIVB World Grand Champions Cup
# – Player (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
3 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, California, Bonsall, California)
4 – Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Nebraska, Cypress, California)
5 – Rachael Adams (M, 6-2, Texas, Cincinnati, Ohio)
6 – Tori Dixon (M, 6-3, Minnesota, Burnsville, Minnesota)
7 – Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, Wisconsin, Aurora, Illinois)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (M, 6-2, Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota)
9 – Madi Kingdon (OH, 6-1, Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona)
10 – Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Nebraska, Hooper, Nebraska)
11 – Annie Drews (OPP, 6-4, Purdue, Elkhart, Indiana)
14 – Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Illinois, Maryville, Illinois)
15 – Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Pepperdine, Portland, Oregon)
16 – Foluke Akinradewo (M, 6-3, Stanford, Plantation, Florida)
17 – Megan Courtney (L, 6-1, Penn State, Dayton, Ohio)
29 – Aiyana Whitney (OPP, 6-5, Penn State, Norwood, New Jersey)
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Tama Miyashiro, Marv Dunphy
Consultant Coaches: Sander Cohen, John Crawley
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Hicks
Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Doctor: Dr. Andrew Gregory
Dietitian: Shawn Hueglin
Team Manager: Jimmy Stitz
2017 FIVB World Grand Champions Cup Schedule
Sept. 5: Brazil def. Russia 25-17, 23-25, 25-23, 25-12
Sept. 5: China def. USA 18-25, 25-18, 25-14, 25-17
Sept. 5: Japan def. Korea 25-23, 25-21, 26-24
Sept. 6: China def. Brazil 25-20, 25-12, 20-25, 23-25, 19-17
Sept. 6: USA def. Korea 25-22, 25-20, 25-16
Sept. 6: Japan vs. Russia (3:15 a.m. PT) – at Tokyo
Sept. 8: USA vs. Russia (8:40 p.m. PT on Sept. 7) – at Nagoya
Sept. 8: China vs. Korea (11:40 p.m. PT on Sept. 7) – at Nagoya
Sept. 8: Japan vs. Brazil (3:15 a.m. PT) – at Nagoya
Sept. 9: Russia vs. China (8:40 p.m. PT on Sept. 8) – at Nagoya
Sept. 9: Brazil vs. Korea (11:40 p.m. PT on Sept. 8) – at Nagoya
Sept. 9: USA vs. Japan (3:15 a.m. PT) – at Nagoya
Sept. 10: Korea vs. Russia (8:40 p.m. PT on Sept. 9) – at Nagoya
Sept. 10: USA vs. Brazil (10:40 p.m. PT on Sept. 9) – at Nagoya
Sept. 10: China vs. Japan (3:15 a.m.) – at Nagoya